At just after 8am, the HCTRTF members gathered and were dispatched to a report of a car vs structure, with possible entrapment and collapse. Units from the member agencies of the Task Force began to arrive and command was established by Clinton Rescue's Deputy Chief of Rescue, who reported a car vs house, car into the basement with 3 entrapped, and a boat they were towing had become dislodged and entrapped a worked in a trench that was open for septic work. Luckily this was all just a drill.
Task Force members are trained and equipped to handle technical rescues including Collapse Structures, Trench Collapses, Confined Space Rescues and High & Low Angle Rope Rescues. Several of the previous calls for the HCTRTF have lead to access challenges, so this was nothing new. A Staging Officer was assigned, equipment identified, and brought on multiple types of equipment, including an ASAP Off-Road Ambulance, Pickup Trucks and two military surplus vehicles, a "deuce and a half 6x6" and a "5 ton 6x6".
Once all personnel were on scene, including over forty members from the Task Force, several from Lebanon Borough Fire Company, who is the local fire company and on scene to assist, and township officials, the hard work started. The teams were broken into different tasks, including a Shoring Team to make the house safe and secure to enter and operate in and around; a Trench Ops Team, to complete the removal of the boat, secure the trench so rescuers could safely enter it and remove the patient; an Extrication Team to complete extrication of the victims in the car, once the structure around them was secured; a Cut Station team, who helped prepared lumber necessary to support both the Trench & Shoring operations; and an EMS/Rehab team. All teams reported into an Incident Commander who was supported by personnel from the Hunterdon County Department of Public Safety, who the Task Force falls under.
In just under 3 hours, all areas where rendered safe, a total of 4 simulated victims removed and sent to care, and personnel broke for a quick lunch and debrief on scene.
The Hunterdon County Technical Rescue Task Force was established in 1999 following events of Hurricane Floyd and prior technical type rescues. Member agencies in addition to the Hunterdon County Department of Public Safety include:
- Clinton First Aid & Rescue Squad
- Flemington-Raritan First Aid & Rescue Squad
- Whitehouse Rescue Squad
- City of Lamberville Fire Department
The Clinton First Aid & Rescue Squad, who hosted and organized this quarter's drill, would like to send a very special thank you out to to entire Clinton Township Committee including the Mayor, President and council members who supported and attended today, as well as the Township Administrator, Department of Public Works and Office of Emergency Management for their support and help in converting the overgrown dirt access road into a safe access and work zone over the last 2 weeks. We'd also like to thank all participating members of the HCTRTF as well as the Lebanon Borough Fire Company for allowing us to use their station for clean up and placing all equipment back in service at their station.